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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

Community Services Locator

An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families


Most communities have education, health, mental health, family support, parenting, child care, and other services that can help children and families. However, locating those services or even knowing which services to look for is often difficult. The Community Services Locator is designed to help service providers and families find available national, state, and local resources that can address child and family needs.

Service providers can use the locator with Where to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Referral Tool for Providers (2006) to help build a customized directory of community-based resources. The tool is also available in Spanish. Families can use the locator with the Building Your Care Notebook, a set of forms created by the National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home to organize and track helpful community-based resources.

Child Care/Early Childhood Education

These tools help to locate child care, early childhood education, and financial assistance for child care.

Child care

Early childhood education

Financial assistance for child care

Education/Special Needs

These tools help to locate developmental assessment and learning services for children at various ages who may have special education needs. See the Parenting section for general education resources for families.

Family Support

These tools help to locate prevention and intervention services for child maltreatment, community violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and sudden and other unexpected infant death, as well as faith-based support services, family support groups, marriage and family therapists, military family support services, and respite care for caregivers or families of individuals with disabilities or other special needs.

Also use the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search under Financial Support, to identify community-based family support organizations.

Child maltreatment prevention and intervention services

Community violence prevention and intervention services

Dating violence prevention and intervention services

Domestic violence prevention and intervention services

Faith-based support services

Family support groups

  • AARP: GrandFacts. Grandparents and other relatives who have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren can find state fact sheets with information about the range of local support services, benefits, and policies they need to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities.

  • Self-Help Group Sourcebook Online. Information about national and international self-help support groups for chronic illnesses and disabilities, bereavement, parenting, caregiver concerns, and other stressful life situations. Use the sourcebook to find or start a support group in your community.

  • Boys Town National Hotline. Crisis, resource, and referral line staffed by trained counselors who can respond to questions from adolescents and parents about suicide prevention, depression, school issues, parenting troubles, runaways, relationship problems, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, substance abuse, and anger, among other topics. Telephone 24 hours a day: (800) 448-3000; (800) 448-1833 (TDD) (English, Spanish, and 140 other languages).

  • Child Welfare Information Gateway: National Foster Care and Adoption Directory Search. Find adoption and foster care resources and support groups.

  • Family Voices in Your State. Families with a child who has special health care needs can find the Family Voices network member in their state for information about services and community connections.

  • National Black Child Development Institute Affiliates. Find NBCDI affiliate chapters that work to improve child welfare services, advocate for universal early care and education, build family support services, press for educational reform, and provide information on children's health to improve and protect the quality of life of African-American children and families.

  • Multiples of America: Find a Club. Parents of multiples can find a local support group.

  • Parents Anonymous: National Parent Helpline. Trained advocates provide emotional support for parents and caregivers. Telephone: (855) 4-A-PARENT (427-2736). Go to Find Support for a directory of parenting services in your state and for parenting materials.

  • Parent to Parent USA (P2P-USA): Find P2P Programs. Families of children with special health care needs can find emotional support and information. The programs match parents seeking support with a trained and experienced veteran parent who has shared the experience of disability in the family.

  • See the MCH Digital Library list Family Resource Centers for information about national organizations that can connect families to local support networks. Also see the collection of family resource briefs.

  • See the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.

Marriage and family therapists

Military family support services

  • Military OneSource. Information and referral service for military personnel and their families on issues such as relationships, stress, grief, parenting, child care, personal finances, spouse employment and education, emotional support during deployments, relocation, or the particular concerns of families of children with special health care needs. Telephone 24 hours a day: (800) 342-9647.

  • National Resource Directory. Information for wounded service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers about services and resources at the national, state, and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation, and community reintegration.

  • Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP). Free workshops and webinars are designed to provide information and resource’s to military families and individuals with disabilities to help them access and navigate educational and medical services. Telephone: (800) 5-PARENT (572-7368) (Voice or TDD).

Respite care for caregivers or families of individuals with disabilities or other special needs

Sudden and other unexpected infant death prevention and intervention services

Financial Support

These tools help to locate child support enforcement, employment, financial assistance, food, home energy, housing, legal assistance, and other social services.

  • 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search. Find information about local 2-1-1 call centers or other information and referral-related centers for community-based services such as food, housing, employment, health care, financial assistance, counseling, disaster-related services, and more. Telephone: 211.

  • American Bar Association: Find Legal Help. Resources for finding a lawyer, accessing free legal help, and understanding legal information, as well as a frequently asked questions page and a Consumer’s Guide to Legal Help Terms Glossary.

  • Eligibility criteria, program descriptions, and contact information in English and Spanish about federal and state government benefit and assistance programs. An online form helps users identify benefits for which they may be eligible, including career development assistance, child care, child support, counseling, disability assistance, disaster relief, education, training, home energy assistance, food, grants, scholarships, health care, housing, insurance, living assistance, loans, loan repayment, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, tax assistance, veterans, military personnel, and volunteer opportunities.

  • Also see the sections Health insurance and Financial assistance for child care.

Health and Wellness

These tools help to locate asthma care; autism spectrum disorder care; diabetes care; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender services; genetics services; health directories; health insurance; home health care and hospice care; injury prevention; mental health services; nutrition services; oral health/dental care; physical therapy; poison control centers; prescription assistance; primary health care; professional networks; public health; reproductive health services; sleep centers and specialists; speech, language, and hearing services; suicide prevention services; and tobacco, alcohol, and substance use prevention and intervention services.

Recommended Starting Point for Finding Consumer Health Information

National Library of Medicine (NLM): MedlinePlus. Links to information on over 900 conditions, diseases, and wellness topics:

  • Prescription and nonprescription drug information
  • Medical encyclopedia
  • Medical dictionary
  • Health news
  • Health directories
  • Video clips, tutorials, health calculators, and other tools on common conditions, tests, and treatments
  • Health information in multiple languages


Autism Spectrum Disorder


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Services

Genetics services

Health directories

Health insurance

Home health care and hospice care

Injury prevention

Mental health services

Nutrition services

Oral health/dental care

Physical therapy

Poison control centers

Prescription assistance

  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). Information about a service that helps qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need free of charge or at discounted prices. PPA is sponsored by several pharmaceutical research companies. Telephone: (888) 477-2669.
  • RxAssist: Patient Assistance Program Center. Information about free or low-cost medicine programs and ways to manage medication costs. Contact information for patient-assistance programs and statewide drug-assistance programs. RxAssist is part of the Center for Primary Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.
  • Together Rx Access. Information about a savings card for eligible individuals and families to receive a discount on prescription products. The Together Rx Access Card is sponsored by several pharmaceutical companies, and it is accepted at many pharmacies nationwide and in Puerto Rico.
  • Also see MCH Digital Library professional resource guide Medications.

Primary health care

Public health

Reproductive health services

Sleep centers and specialists

Speech, language, and hearing services

Suicide prevention

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call for help 24 hours a day. Telephone: (800) 273-TALK (8255); (888) 628-9454 (Spanish); 800-799-4889 (TDD).
  • Trevor Project: Get Help. Confidential crisis- and suicide-prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Get immediate support, connect to a crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year by phone, (866) 488-7386, SMS:678678 or a confidential and secure online messaging service that provides live help with trained volunteers.
  • Also see MCH Digital Library professional resource guide Suicide Prevention.

Tobacco, alcohol, and substance use prevention and intervention services


These tools help to locate general education and child-development resources for families.

Community Services Locator: An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families, 3rd ed. (May 2012). (Updated: August 2014; March 2022).

Authors: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Digital Library; Rochelle Mayer, Ed.D., National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health
Reviewers: Beth Dworetzky, M.S., Catalyst Center; Shree Mohanty, M.A., M.S., R.D., L.D., Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Region V; Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., MCH Digital Library.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Digital Library.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.